DIVERSITY, POETRY, and the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

I am excited and proud to announce that my poem “Ain’t Gonna Die ‘Til . ..” just won first prize for prose poem in the Colorado poetry society state-wide annual contest. But more than pride, I am pleased that it is getting some exposure as it means a great deal to me. It is a poem about social justice that needs to be heard. I am not publishing it yet in my social media venues as I hope to have it published in a more widespread readership, so if you have any suggestions for that, please leave a comment!! If I publish it here, I can’t submit it anywhere else.

Here are the judge’s comments to give you an idea about it:

“I struggled mightily with Ain’t Gonna Die ‘Til . . .  I am always skeptical of the use of dialect. Yet dialect brings a reality to bear on writing in a way no other language can. The dialect in this poem catches like a fish hook and doesn’t let go. It lays the foundation of this tough poem and provides a counterbalance to what’s happening in Part I, as a young man stands up for freedom in the early Civil Rights Movement. Part II jettisons the reader into one of the most familiar tragedies of that time—and keeps traveling, right into last week’s breaking news. ‘Didn’t think they would kill us in church—we know better now. . . .’ The story this poem tells remains unfinished—there’s work for all of us to do.”

Yes, there’s work for all of us to do whether in my home country (the United States), Germany, India, Myanmar, or wherever you are. We can’t stop. Please don’t. Our planet is built on diversity—not only our species, but all life. Thank you.

The children in the photos below live in Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Greece.

 

cyprus-having-fun2 maldives-a-typical-young-girl thailand-nw-martha-girl-playing rhodes-kids-best-friends

 

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